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Different and Not as Good... - 73%

PowerMetalGuardian, July 20th, 2004

The 80's were gone, and the times were already changing. Metal music was changing as well, some for the better, some for the worst. In 1990 Trouble came out with their self-titled album and dropped the Christian themes. Little did they now that this would be Trouble's last good album. A lot of people hold Manic Frustration in high regards, but I can't really see why. Half of the album is decent, but it's just not Trouble.

One of the reason why this album is not Trouble is because it is not doom metal. Trouble hit it big in the 80's with their doom metal sound, but something happened. The band changed, switching to a psychedelic metal. In fact most of the songs have a semi-fast paced tempo. Most of the lyrics and themes for these songs have to deal with hallucinations and psychedelia. It's like somebody showed Wagner how to use drugs, altering the sound of Trouble in the 90's.

It sounds like I hate this album, but I don't hate it. It's got a lot of cool riffs, and in fact the distortion on the guitar solos is very unique to Trouble's style. The drummer does a good job keeping the tempo with something Trouble generally doesn't work with. Eric Wagner's vocal performance is good, but not his best. It sounds like old Trouble, vocally, but definitely not lyrically. The one song where his vocals suck is in the song Fear, which offers some distorted vocals, which in my honest opinion sucks. Why would you want to try and mask the vocals when they sound good to begin with?

Two main problems I have with this album are: the songs seem to blend into each other, like the next song continues to the next without any pause. This isn't necessarily bad, but it makes the music sound repetitive at times, which in itself can make the music boring. The other thing is that the music style has changed. There are only two songs that are slow. Rain is a very bad song that is kind of like a ballad. Breathe is an awesome Doom Metal song, probably the only one on this album and, at least for me, the best song on this album. If you like 80's Trouble you most likely won't like this album. If you are okay with heavy metal bands and changing then you should be fine with this album. Overall not bad, but just not the best.